Performed as Disney Princess Parade since July 2006 (and for a spell in 2003 and 2004), the parade began way back on 30th March 1998 as the centrepiece of the resort’s “Year of Disney Classics”. These were the days of Tinkerbell’s Fantasy in the Sky, Disney Classics: The Music and the Magic and Pocahontas: le Spectacle, to name but a few. It was the year after the 5th Anniversary’s “Year to Be Here”, and the park desperately needed a new sensation to sustain the crowds. Luckily, they succeeded.
Drawing floats from the popular Disney Classics Parade of 1992-1998 and several mini-parades created for the release of Walt Disney films in the 90s, the parade added 5 new floats, a giant cast of dancers, interactive show stops and one final special ingredient… A Catchy Rhythm. The rest, as they say, is history. The Wonderful World of Disney Parade became a Disneyland icon, the quintessential mix of everything which makes a Disney parade so wonderful. And, although it faced many changes along the way, its spirit was never lost due to its undying popularity with the public.
And so, the final farewell performance of a real Disney classic. With no “Farewell Season” in the style of Main Street Electrical Parade, it all came down to Friday’s big goodbye to see the show off in style. For one day only, every parade Cast Member available joined the parade filling any role possible – the cast was so large and so spectacular that even the long-gone sailor dance unit returned in front of the parade’s most memorable original float, Steamboat Willie. As a tribute to the floats of the past, characters were also present from all the films of 1998’s “Disney timeline”, including Pinocchio, The Jungle Book and Hercules.
Photos by disneylandresortparis at PBase. More here.
Once the parade reached its end at Town Square, the entire special cast of over 110 performers created a jubilant and unforgettable atmosphere as they waited for the final float – none other than Steamboat Willie, before waving goodbye and allowing the doors to close on the parade for one final time. Of course, this isn’t the first time the parade has been waved goodbye – it first ended in late 1999 to make way for the millennium’s Disney’s ImagiNations Parade. Such was the popularity of the Wonderful World, however, ImagiNations could last little more than a year on the parade route. Could the same happen once again? It’d be very, very unlikely. The parade has unfortunately, truly, finally… ended.
But, as we move ahead to a new, exciting age in the history of Disneyland Resort Paris and welcome the launch of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, it’s obvious already that the parade will never truly be gone. Both for its catchy rhythm and trademark groups of energetic dancers, the Wonderful World will always be here as a wonderful memory.
To all those Cast Members who danced a catchy rhythm day after day for all these years – congratulations, and thank you. We were always guaranteed a Disney kinda’ day when we saw your smiling faces, as you passed along the way…
For more from the parade, visit our Grand Farewell guide. Discover a photo tour of the 17 floats which played a part in its life, along with the music, history and making of the Wonderful World.